Back to Scotland

Sunday lunch at the Parsonage, a few weeks ago now – Charlie had pulled in all his chrysanthemums from the greenhouse, the sun was streaming in through the bay window…. We were having some friends over and had FINALLY been prompted to frame and hang the beautiful drawing of Dahlias by our friend Oisin Byrne that now at last hangs above the fireplace.  I’ve lived at the Parsonage for, what is it, fourteen years now and it’s only taken that long to put something there. I am sure you know the feeling.  Don’t forget the beautiful green candles from Pentreath & Hall….

Then, a week flew by. We were in London for the weekend… for my birthday.  A lovely walk on Saturday morning in warm sunshine, and a visit to the beautiful tiny Lucian Freud exhibition at the Garden Museum.  Back across a gleaming Thames. Enormous fun was had on Saturday night. Bridie had given me the best present ever – dinner, cooked by her talented friend Letitia Clark.  Absolutely delicious. The night was crazy.  We woke up tired but happy on Sunday morning.  The dogs helped me unwrap presents.
Basking sunshine and golden trees in the square.  Everyone was so tired when we got home from lunch and a walk.
We should point it, it’s also the birthday of Pentreath & Hall!  14 years old.

Here is Bridie and me, back in those happy heady early days when the shop was tiny, internet shopping was essentially unknown, the world seemed a more innocent place – and we were already selling beautiful plasters by our best friend Peter Hone.  And then – at the end of another busy week, Charlie and I and the dogs, escaped to Scotland. Although most of the country was under Biblical rainstorms, over on the far, far west coast, we were strangely blessed with glorious sunshine – most (although not all) of the time.  The bothy and cottage were so happy we were home.   Off for a first walk – always such a good moment after a while away.  Muddy doesn’t really describe it.  Time for a swim to wash it all off.  The tones and colours are so intense at this time of year, the light so clear and sharp – so different from the mists of Dorset.  An extraordinary pink sky that afternoon, at dusk.  Exhausted everyone.  The next morning was clear and fair.  If you ever wonder why we painted our doors and windows yellow, it is a colour that belongs well in this landscape.  We were away for lunch with our friends down at Ardpatrick, back through rain and a late clearance.  The metal binding at the edge of the pier was the most extraordinary orange rust colour the next morning.  Mavis in for a swim as ever.  Last days…. And then down South again.  I had a very early train out of London the following morning…. Waterloo Sunrise.  And then to Dorset this weekend. Autumnal skies and empty trees.  The colours of a painting.  How important is that tiny dash of red that the old post box provides. 

And today, a family lunch, and then I had to catch the train back to London, ready for an earlyish start in the morning. It feels like a short weekend. The last I’m having before we are off to New Zealand in a little less than two weeks now – at long, long last – to see all Charlie’s family and to meet all the new arrivals, and to remember the departures – after this oh so long and difficult Covid separation.  We just cannot wait.

So that, unbelievably, is goodbye to Dorset for this year. When I am back next it will be 2023.

This year is slipping towards its close – and I can’t help admitting, the final weeks feel fitful and fretful and filled with a sense of unquiet.  But as we tip towards the first day of advent, let’s just remember the eternal power of hope and the eternal strength of love.

We’d love to welcome you in our little shop for a good dose of hope and love this Christmas.


There’ll always be an England. Happy Christmas to you Ben and Charlie. You make our lives more beautiful. JRO from the States.

Joseph R Ornig

Your posts are so soothing. Thank you …our corgi sends regards to your pack. Who will keep them whilst you are away? I love your Scotland house and wonder if the cunning wee phone works? Sigh… Merry Christmas and great blessings to us all for 2023.

mary lou bethune

Ben Happy Belated Birthday.
Thank you for another year of your beautiful photo’s and sharing your life, Charlie, and the sweet dogs with your readers.
Following the 19 days of darkness I lived thru in PEI post storm Fiona, and the extensive damage to our province, our Island experienced.
It was a balm for the soul to view your photo’s as we recovered.
I look forward to 2023 with hope and faith in the kindness of my friends, and many former unknown people, who volunteered to saw and remove our 200 year old trees, and then gifted a handmade quilt for a hug. I am reminded we are also at our best when trouble comes.
In the spirit of light during Advent my very best wishes for a Happy Christmas in NZ with family. Enjoy!


So many beautiful moments captured and shared! Thank you for them. That tartan chair by the fire with the corgi nestled in, snug as a bug, is cozy perfection (and that delightful rotary phone!).


Wonderful pictures of the lovely scenery in Scotland and London and loved that painting above your fireplace. I am sure your dining room looks lovely at night lit by those beautiful green candles from your shop with that painting above the fireplace. Happy Birthday. I too enjoy going to the Garden Museum, such a lovely place. The dogs certainly enjoy themselves beside the fireplace in the cozy chairs and on the sofa. And especially with Charlie too it seems. Nice they go for a swim. Have a wonderful time with Charlie’s family over the holidays. I can’t wait to see pictures of New Zealand. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Can’t wait to hear and see your holiday pictures in 2023.

Darlene Chandler

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